NBC pulls Nurses episode from digital platforms after backlash over Orthodox Jewish storyline

In the episode, titled ‘Achilles Heel’, an Orthodox Jewish patient refuses a bone graft from a potentially ‘Arab’ or female donor

Rachel Brodsky
Los Angeles
Thursday 25 February 2021 00:12
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<p>NBC pulls Nurses episode from digital platforms after backlash over Orthodox Jewish storyline</p>

NBC pulls Nurses episode from digital platforms after backlash over Orthodox Jewish storyline

An episode of Canadian medical drama <em>Nurses</em> has been pulled from NBC's digital platforms and future airings after facing a backlash for a storyline featuring an Orthodox Jewish patient.

In the episode, titled “Achilles Heel”, an Orthodox Jewish patient refuses a bone graft from a potentially “Arab” or female donor. The episode has faced significant pushback for its portrayal of religious Jewish culture.

“You want to put a dead leg inside of me?” the character, named Israel, asks the doctor. “A dead goyim leg – from anyone. An Arab, a woman,” his father replies.

“Or God forbid an Arab woman,” a nurse replies.

Israel refuses the bone graft, saying, “It’s God who heals what he creates.”

As many pointed out on social media, Orthodox Judaism does not specifically prohibit using a cadaver transplant in medical situations.

“The writers of this scene check all the boxes of ignorance and pernicious negative stereotypes, right down to the name of the patient, Israel – paiyous and all,” the Simon Wiesenthal Center said in a statement earlier on Wednesday (24 February).

“In one scene, NBC has insulted and demonized religious Jews and Judaism. Overreaction? Orthodox Jews are targeted for violent hate crimes – in the city of New York, Jews are number one target of hate crimes in US; this is no slip of the tongue. It was a vile, cheap attack masquerading as TV drama. What’s NBC going to do about it?”

An NBC source told Variety that the network had consulted with leading Jewish organisations in deciding to pull the episode from digital platforms.

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